You're busy, so I'll keep this short. It's a simple trick that can help you squeeze tons of entertainment, information and learning into a much shorter time than it otherwise would take.
Here's the issue. We're all watching more video. Three hours a day watching scripted television alone, according to Ad Week.
It's more than just entertainment. Tutorials, classes and presentations. Last year, my job expanded pretty quickly to involve a ton of Facebook marketing and advertising. The best thing I found at the start was about 50 hours of tutorials to at least get me quickly to a baseline understanding.
But who has 50 hours to watch tutorial videos? Especially when a lot of it isn't exactly paced at racehorse speed. (Meaning: it's boring.) Time I spent watching the videos would have been time I wasn't devoting to doing my job or spending time with my family.
The secret? Don't let someone else set the pacing for you. Instead, take over your video, and control the speed--and your time. Here's how it works.
1. Increase the playback speed on YouTube
Did you know that with three quick clicks, you can speed up the pace of any YouTube video?
Too many people don't know about this. Simply lick on little gearbox icon that you'll see at the lower right corner of any video. This will bring up the settings menu, including an option to adjust speed. Click that, and you'll get the option to play the video at normal speed, or more slowly--or most important, at 1.25x, 1.5x, or 2x the uploaded speed.
I find that you can almost always play at 1.5x without losing anything. Voila, you've just slashed your viewing time by at least 33 percent.
2. Download this extension for Chrome
Of course, YouTube is just a small part of the issue. We're watching videos on Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Vimeo, among others--and there's no "control the speed" button built into many of these services.
Enter Video Speed Controller, a Chrome extension that allows you to pick up the pace on almost any HTML5 video out there. Install the plug-in, and you control the speed. As Jeff Guo, who wrote about this for The Washington Post, puts it:
Over 100,000 people have downloaded that plug-in, and the reviews are ecstatic. "Oh my God! I regret all the wasted time I've lived before finding this gem!!" one user wrote.
But speeding up video is more than an efficiency hack. I quickly discovered that acceleration makes viewing more pleasurable. "Modern Family" played at twice the speed is far funnier -- the jokes come faster and they seem to hit harder. I get less frustrated at shows that want to waste my time with filler plots or gratuitous violence. The faster pace makes it easier to appreciate the flow of the plot and the structure of the scenes.
3. Look for the same feature on podcasts and other media
Audiobooks, podcasts--almost every audio or video service has these features, either through the native apps or through add-ons. Start using them, and you'll find it's almost impossible to go back to watching video or consuming media the old, slow way again.
Aside; I've never done a speed-reading course (if you've had success with this, let me know in the comments below). However, I have applied what I see as a version of this strategy to print media--setting a budgeted time to get through a book, knowing that I might have to skim through at times, or skip ahead in order to meet the budget.
Guo dives into the science behind some of this, including experiments showing that our ears and minds might be attuned to listen attentively at 250 to 275 words per minute, while most of us speak at only a little faster than half that pace.
Bottom line: TL;DR isn't just an abbreviation. It's now a way of life.